Derbyshire Fidgety Pie

This pie has been in the planning for a while. To celebrate British Food Fortnight I knew I wanted to bake a traditional Derbyshire dish, ideally savory and with pasty. Inspiration came from the most random of places – the latest East Midlands National Trust newsletter. In the newsletter it mentioned the traditional Derbyshire Fidgety Pie. Not a pie I had heard of before, but gave me more of a challenge to try it. Another reason for wanting to use pastry was so I could use my Made in England rolling pin. I don’t use it as much as my wooden or marble rolling pin as it is quite delicate, but I love it!

Hubby’s family originate from South Derbyshire where this pie has its roots. There are various variations of this pie throughout the Midlands, where they are usually called Fidget Pie. Some with cider, some with ham, some with gammon along with some additional ingredients.

This pie is a traditional dish served to people working in the field through harvest. Essentially it is the Midland’s version of the Cornish Pasty as it is a portable, filling meal. It is thought to have got its name from the fact it traditionally was fitched (5-sided) in shape. The key vegetables in a fidgety pie is apples and onions which are plentiful during the harvest and of course these vegetables go well with pork. This version should have raisins in it, but I left them out as I don’t like them in savory dishes. Given this ingredient not being used it still made a surprisingly hearty & flavoursome dish.

Rather than baking a pie with both pastry on the top and bottom (trying to make it slightly kinder to the hips!) I baked it in aMason Cash pie dish (made in Derbyshire). In keeping with the South Derbyshire theme I also used smoked bacon from the best butchers around – Chantry Farm Shop in Kings Newton near Melbourne. If your ever near I beg you to pop in. Their meat is second to none and well worth the trip. Hubby & I really enjoyed the pie and I was surprised as to how tasty it was. Perfect for these Autumnal evenings.

Now, you can truly say that this pie has been Made in England.

Derbyshire Fidgety Pie
Makes 2 individual pies

225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
110g butter
cold water
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small/medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1 apple, cored and finely sliced
4 rashers of bacon
400ml beef stock
1 egg

1) First get started on the pastry. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2) Add the chilled water a small amount at a time and mix with a knife until you have a good dough. Roll into a ball, cover in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 min.

3) Preheat oven to 190oc. Fry off the bacon. At the bottom of each individual pie dish line with a layer of half of the sliced potatoes, then all the onions and apple. Sprinkle with black pepper and thyme then layer with the bacon and the rest of the potato. Pour over the beef stock (200ml per pie dish).

4) Roll out the pastry until around 5mm thick. Top the pie with pastry and trim to fit. Make 2 slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape then brush with egg.

5) Bake for 20min until pastry is golden and filling is cooked. Traditionally it is served on its own, but would go well with a side of vegetables.

0 thoughts on “Derbyshire Fidgety Pie”

  • This sounds lovely and very warming now that the nights (and days) are getting colder! I like that the pastry is just over the top – I'm not a huge pastry lover so tend to steer clear of pies but the boyfriend really likes him. This could be the best of both worlds!

  • You have a really Great blog!!Please visit my blog and see if it is something that you would be willing to be linked too.I was born in Harrogate and am currently working in Penang, Malaysia.I will of course reciprocate.Warm regards,Mike

  • First, I clicked on your blog from another because I love the title. Second, this sounds fabulous and unique. Not something that you would ever find in the states. I may even post this on my blog (once I make it). Great blog and thanks for the yummy idea, I am excited to browse.

  • Rachel – I imagine it would also work without the bacon.Beth – it is very much a man's pie!Goodshoeday & Curious Cat – I certainly appreciated it on a cold Autumnal evening.Rhyleysgranny & George – I was intrigued at first too as to me a fidget also means someone who can't sit still. Apparently in olde Midlands English Fidget was a 5 sided dish inwhich this pie was cooked.The Girl – I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of shortcrust pastry and prefer puff pastry.Chefstales & Laila – thank youAlex – I do my rolling pins!Su-Lin – good to hear I'm not the only one making it out there. I haven't seen it for sale here yet.Sunita – I know what you mean, it isn't a serious sounding pie!Rhandi – glad you like my blog. If you do try out the pie can you let me know. Ta!

  • I first found this recipe in a little collection of Derbyshire recipes which I bought about forty years ago in Matlock. The pie has been a family favourite ever since. I think the name may be related to “fitch” or “fitchet”, an old word for a side of bacon.

  • You make me homesick ! Born and raised in Leamington Spa the Midlands. Love your blog, thanks for all the memories and good food. Keep up the good work, can’t wait to try some of your recipes, thanks : )

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